I started uni in 2002, graduated with MSc in 2007, started working as a developer part-time during last 2 years at uni. That’s good 12-17 years of software development time, depending how you count. In all these years I absolutely hated anything front-end related. Not “I did a bit of both and liked backend more”. Not “I wasn’t interested”. Not “I found back-end work more challenging and fun”. No, I actively despised being forced to go anywhere near any UI work. Around 2010 (so still quite early in my career) I was on a project which had a simple UI for users, and the most I would do was to maybe add a button to trigger an action on the backend. My manager said “yeah, I think if I made Lili work on this more, she’d quit on the spot”. I never told her anything of the sort - but she was probably right.

Why did I hate it so much? At first, back at uni, I think it was because it was very difficult to make anything work in all browsers. Chrome didn’t even exist back then, Firefox was in infancy. IE, Netscape and Opera were giving me enough of a headache to get scars - for a very long time. It was just incredibly frustrating. And I didn’t really feel I could make it look “pretty”, no matter how hard I tried.

Then, for a number of years I observed how frameworks come-and-go. Anybody remembers Flex? Silverlight? GWT? I played with them all. Literally every time I looked into front-end world, thinking of maybe dabbling a bit on this side, something else was supposed to be “the best”. It was maddening. It felt like the poor front-end people run like hamsters on a wheel, never getting anywhere, always restarting from zero. I didn’t want to get into that.

Then, in Oct 2016, I came across blog post titled “How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016” and after reading it, I was absolutely convinced that the front-end people have gone completely crazy, probably from years of frameworks abuse ;) I re-asserted that front-end is not for me.

I’m saying all this so that you can get a mental picture of where I was in 2017, when I decided I was going to build a website. I could of course handle the database stuff, the services, even devops bits when pushed - but the front-end… The thought of entering that world was genuinely petrifying.

I googled a bit and 3 names seemed to be coming up - Angular, React, and Vue. I was familiar with Angular and React (as names) as various projects I worked as Java dev were using them - but Vue was brand new. I think the first time I read about it was on some Quora post, out of all places. I quickly discarded Angular, partly due to low popularity, partly because their complete disregard for at least marginal backwards compatibility I’ve heard of. React - I did try. I went to main React page, tried to do a simple “hello world”, and quite frankly, at this point docs were not too friendly. I also wasn’t hugely the idea of everything being in Javascript. it felt like HTML and CSS should figure somewhat in a web UI framework. Plus, I had grand plans to train a brand-new developer to do this (yes, I really didn’t want to do front-end…) who had at least vague familiarity with HTML/CSS. None Javascript.

At this point, Vue entered my